Reality check

There are lots of things I miss about Brookline – Indian food is high on the list. But what I miss most though are the school drop-offs and pick-ups. 

Here in Merida, we drive about 5 miles to school and then drop the kids off from our cars into the arms of a waiting staff member who is greeting them at the door (a rainy day dream in Brookline, I know).  My errands are all done via car because of the heat.  Playgrounds are too hot during the day.  There isn’t the much of the opportunity for spontaneous gatherings like in Brookline.

In Brookline, we walk to school less than a quarter mile. Along the way, we run into friends doing the exact same thing.  After we accomplish dropping off the kids, parents get to chat, complain, crow, gossip and giggle. We arrange playdates, coffee, bbqs, bday parties, camp dates and pto volunteers on the fly.  The same thing happens in the afternoon when we gather to pick them up.  There’s always the possibility of an instant playdate after school – just walk to Pierce Park or Emerson Park and there’s bound to be a bunch of friends their too. The girls get a playdate and mommy does too.

I’ve made a couple great friends here that you would all like, but I  certainly miss running to school or the post office or KooKoos and being guaranteed to see my fellow Brookline mommies Kristin or Stacey or Deb or Kathy or Eileen or Jenn or Jen or Blanka or Martha or Liz or Ellen or Michele or Laura or Janet or Elie or Jackie or Suzanne or Beth or Silvia or Cass or Karen or Meredith or Ina!

In the words of Joni Mitchell “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone”.  Lucky for me, it’s not gone, just on hiatus!


This morning H told us that her teacher asked her why she is always late.  We bring both girls every morning by 8am, same time as last year.  Lots of other families are dropping off their kids the same time as us.  So of course we questioned H as to whether or not she’s going straight to class, stopping to talk, pitstop en el bano, etc.  Nope, Nope, Nope she claimed.

So Hubby took the girls to school and got them there before 8am so H would have time to walk upstairs.  When I picked her up, she handed me a note that said “Our class starts at 7:30am.”  Que????????????????????

I waited until the dismissal rush was over and called school.  No one had ever informed us that start times are staggered and change depending on what grade you are in!  H starts at 7:30am and J starts at 7:50am.  For two full weeks, we have been bringing our kids to school late.  40 minutes a day missed in educating their minds times 10 days = 400 minutes of brainpower gone!

Worse – I shudder to think how much extra brainpower we’ll all be losing getting up a half hour earlier every day.  No one in my family does well without sleep – least of all me.  4 family members times 30 minutes less sleep time 5 days a week is 600 minutes or 10 HOURS less sleep per week for my family.

Look out Mexico – this ain’t gonna be pretty.

Sometimes when you arrive at a restaurant here, even if there are plenty of tables, they will ask your name – first AND last.  Hubby has gotten go frustrated with trying to pronounce and spell his name for people who understandably have trouble with it. It finally dawned us the other day, that there is really no reason they need OUR name, they just need A name – so why not make it easy for everybody?  Hubby talked about using Jose Martinez as his alias, but we realized the danger of that is that we might not pay attention when the name Jose Martinez is called.  We came up with a solution that would make it easy for the hostesses and be attention getting for my Yankee-loving husband.

So, if you hear that Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Molina or Mariano Rivera were dining in Merida with their family – don’t believe the hype – it’s probably us.

Back in the Yucatan!  Five weeks in Boston filled with fun, friends, family, bbqs, parks, camp, biking, scootering, canoeing, sun, rain, the occasional sweater at night, and lots of moving boxes. 

Apparently, things weren’t so exciting here though.  Our cleaning lady seems to have gotten pretty bored having only Hubby to tidy up after, and a cat and five turtles to feed.

Example 1: She organized our Spanish language refrigerator magnets.

Example 2: She cleaned our spare change.

Example 1 is kinda funny and a good illustration of how organized and orderly Maria is all the time. Example 2 is actually a really good reminder to me not to be so casual with change the we just have in little piles throughout the house – this change is enough to make a difference in the day to day lives of many people here and just leaving it in an old coffee mug for Maria to clean around is kind of insulting to her.

You know how at the Franklin Park Zoo, there’s a peacock that isn’t caged, it just wanders around the zoo?  Well there’s an iguana like that at the zoo here – and it is GIANT.  Not only that – but if two little gringa girls corner it near water – it SWIMS – REALLY FAST. So fast that I couldn’t capture a photo of it actually smimming – but trust me, it was a lot like the dog paddle.

People often ask us this question, and I’m embarrassed that I don’t know.  I know how much you in the US are paying for gas, because it is in the news everyday.  There are 3 contributing factors to why I didn’t know:

1. The only gas station here is PEMEX.  It is government owned.  Everyone pays the same price everywhere, so it’s not advertised on giant in-your-face comparision shop signs. The price is only on the pump.

2. The price is in litres, and I’ve been too lazy to convert the litres into gallons and the pesos into dollars.

3. By the time I leave the gas station, I forget what the price is to answer anyone’s inquiry.

So yesterday, I got a pen and wrote it all down at the pump so I could tell you. We have two types of gas here – Magna and Premium. Yesterday Magna was 7.17 pesos/litre and Premium was 8.99 pesos/litre.

Yesterday , I asked for $200 pesos worth of Magna gasoline. I got 27.9 litres. At yesterday’s rates that means I spent $19.34 USD on 7.37 US gallons, which I’m pretty sure means I’m paying $2.62 USD/gallon.

No surprise to learn that people in San Diego are driving over the border to fill up!


Note: Careful what converter you are using, as there is a difference between US & UK gallons:

3.785411 liters per gallon (US). 1 liter = 0.264172052 US gallons
4.54609 liters per gallon (UK). 1 liter = 0.219969157 UK gallons

Sad that genius George Carlin died.  If you’ve never seen his Modern Man piece, check it out. I don’t know anyone who could do this at any age…


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